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Guide to Lizardfolk in Pathfinder

The Lizardfolk, massive, scaly tribesmen with a predilection for living rough and beating the snot out of intruders, aren’t normally a playable race in Pathfinder. In Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Edition players were forced to undergo annoying level adjustments, and consequently weren’t the best choice for playing.

Does that mean you can’t play as them? Of course not. You can play as anything you want, so long as you have a brain. And there are plenty of good reasons to choose a Lizardfolk in Pathfinder, as well.

Lizardfolk, though they’re found in many different regions, are typically swamp-dwelling creatures that live in close-knit tribes. Though a bit primitive compared to other creatures, Lizardfolk can back up their choice of lifestyle thanks to their sheer brawn and hardy constitution. They’re tough creatures, have no doubt – and thus can make a great addition to a party.

Lizardfolk, as mentioned, aren’t (yet) given stats that allow them to be playable for Pathfinder players. Thanks to the adjustments made to races, however, it’s now more viable than before to simply take a 3.5 Lizardfolk’s stats and use them for yourself. Lizardfolk get +2 Strength and +2 Constitution to start, with a -2 on Intelligence as a result. They also have a few natural weapons (claws and bite), the ability to Hold Breath, a few physical racial bonuses and, most important to physical characters, +5 natural armor to their AC. This last fact makes Lizardfolk most desirable to characters.

All this is still a bit strong, however, so if you want to use a Lizardfolk you should discuss one of two options with your dungeon master:

  • First, take the level of humanoid as suggested by the 3.5 rules. Normally you’d have to take two, but Pathfinder’s power boosts can probably bring this down to one. Then, at your next level, you can begin on a class.

  • Or, second, you can get rid of one or two of the natural advantages of the character. The natural armor boost would be the most significant loss, though melee fighters should opt for eliminating something else instead, such as the natural attacks, Hold Breath or the racial skill boosts. That extra AC really comes in handy, so hold out for it – or, if worst comes to worst, accept a lowered natural AC.

As their very nature suggests, Lizardfolk are great melee fighters. Their Strength and Constitution make them excellent for holding the front lines of a skirmish, and that extra AC will keep a Lizardfolk with other armor safe from many attacks. They’re great choices for Fighters, Barbarians, melee-based Clerics or Druids and even Paladins. They aren’t so good at the magical stuff, however, so keep Lizardfolk away from Wizarding or Witching unless you’re willing to tolerate a weird handicap.

At the end of the day, your Lizardfolk might prove a bit too strong for a Pathfinder game, so don’t be afraid to look elsewhere. Fortunately, there’s a somewhat comparable 3rd Party Pathfinder race – Saurians – that might nicely substitute for your lost Lizardfolk.

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